What to expect from an initial injury case consultation

During the initial consultation, both you and the attorney will evaluate each other.  You must determine whether you believe the attorney to be competent and someone who can understand your situation, and the attorney must determine if you are someone he/she can work with, and also the attorney will assess the strength of your case.

If your case is weak, for example, there is a tenuous relationship between the injury and the claimed source of the injury, or the current offer from the insurance for damages is reasonable, the attorney may advise that he won’t take the case.

The attorney also may not take your case for a variety of other reasons.  If the attorney has a large caseload, or if he believes your injury is best handled by an attorney more familiar with your type of case, he may not take it.  I have turned down cases because I simply don’t have the time, but have referred those cases out to others.  The main thing to remember is not to take it personally.

If the attorney advises you that the case is not strong, you should speak to another attorney.  If you start to hear the same thing a few times, consider that the attorneys are actually doing you a favor.  Litigation can be lengthy and can consume a lot of energy and focus.  If your case is a loser, it is best not to waste that energy and focus, and instead focus on recovering from your injuries.

If you do have a good case, most of the time the attorney should not be taking any payments up front.  Typically, personal injury cases are taken on a contingent basis, which means that payment is contingent on the attorney resolving the case in your favor.  If you are asked to pay up-front for a personal injury, keep looking.



Don’t wait to speak to an attorney

The typical statute of limitations, which is the amount of time you have to sue someone for something that has happened to you, is 1-3 years.  Don’t wait until the deadline is almost upon you to speak to an attorney because you might find that you would prefer a different attorney, or the attorney you do like might be too busy to handle something that requires a rush.

Additionally, your injury might require documentation from a medical professional beyond the documentation that you already have.  Waiting may decrease your potential recovery.  Don’t wait, contact an attorney today.

For reference, here is a brief list of some of the statues of limitation in California.